Counsel assisting the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry this week set out a list of recommendations for change it wants the Board to consider.
ORIGIN AND RESPONSE
-Establishment of an integrated incident management team of emergency services and Hazelwood personnel.
-GDF SUEZ revise its Emergency Response Plan to increase its state of readiness on days of Total Fire Ban.
-GDF Suez review its power supply arrangements to include a backup for water systems and emergency command centre.
ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
-State Government and Environment Protection Authority should take the lead in pushing for a national compliance standard for PM2.5 and if unsuccessful after 12 months, Victoria should develop its own state-based standard.
-EPA to monitor PM2.5 at all air monitoring stations in Victoria, with real-time readings on its website.
-EPA establish an automatic monitoring station in the southern part of Morwell, funded by GDF SUEZ.
-EPA equip itself to conduct air quality monitoring rapidly in any location.
-Research and development by EPA into simple ways of measuring and recording airborne particulate matter, and an air quality prediction tool.
-The Department of Health’s long term health study be extended to at least 20 years.
-Establishment of a public health emergency expert panel.
-Establishment of a Victorian Smoke Management Guide by December including protocol for CO and PM2.5.
-Revision of the community CO and PM2.5 protocols by November.
-Victorian WorkCover Authority to publish information for employers about occupational air quality standards.
-State Government declare the Latrobe Valley as Victoria’s first ‘health conservation area’ and appoint a health advocate for the region.
-Emergency Management Victoria ensure all emergency response agencies have the capability and resources for effective public communication.
-Emergency Management Victoria lead development of a community engagement model.
-A private operator of essential infrastructure, such as GDF SUEZ, be included in the coordination of public communications during an incident involving that infrastructure.
-GDF SUEZ review its crisis management communication strategy in line with international best practice.
-Revision of the firefighting CO protocol by November.
-GDF SUEZ to adopt and apply the firefighting CO protocol.
-The CFA, MFB and GDF SUEZ should highlight the risks of CO poisoning to firefighters with pre-existing respiratory or cardiac conditions or who may be pregnant.
MITIGATION AND PREVENTION
-GDF SUEZ embrace a sound enterprise risk management framework.
-GDF SUEZ engage reputable external consultants to conduct a thorough risk assessment of the likelihood and consequences of the risk of fires in the worked out batters of the Hazelwood mine.
-GDF SUEZ should thoroughly review its ‘Mine Fire Service Policy and Code of Practice’.
-Both the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation and the Victorian WorkCover Authority are made responsible for regulating the risk of fires in mines.
-The Emergency Management Commissioner assume responsibility for Integrated Fire Management Planning in Victoria from 1 July.
-Section 43 of the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 should be amended so that it applies to essential state infrastructure such as the Hazelwood Mine and Power Station, whether they are in private or public ownership.
-The Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure and Latrobe City Council review the Latrobe Planning Scheme to minimises the risk of embers from external rural fires, particularly in timber plantations, into open cut coal mines in the Latrobe Valley.